M&E Journal: Storage Performance vs. Scalability: No Longer an Either/or Scenario

By Molly Presley, Director of Product Marketing, Qumulo

Imagine for a moment that you are a studio administrator, managing the editing suites for a major film. Pretty exciting, right? Every night, one of your tasks is preparing the studio for the next day. This means spending hours uploading raw video footage to each editing suite, sometimes across multiple facilities. Each editing suite is assigned a project and corresponding footage, so editors and artists can get to work right away when they arrive in the morning.

But what if something goes wrong with an editing suite? Say a projector or another piece of hardware in an editing suite malfunctions. Suddenly the production schedule is in jeopardy. This is an all-too common scenario for studio administrators.

Work in an editing suite — not to mention other M&E workflows such as VFX, rendering, color correction, compositing, and the like – requires extremely high-performance storage. For this reason, studios have historically had no choice but to turn to Storage Area Network (SAN) solutions for high resolution video content.

While SANs can supply the storage speeds studios want, they are very complex to deploy and take very specialized skills to manage. With SAN technology, studios are required to have a Fibre Channel network in place just for the storage and typically need to manage several different hardware platforms through multiple different management interfaces to get the complete solution running.

When a studio administrator wants to add users, additional editing suites or new workloads, they have to retune their storage environment. Or, if something happens to go wrong in a single editing suite (as it did in the above example), it can take hours before that editor is back to work.

In cases like this, studios need a storage system that can handle the performance requirements of intensive editing while being simple enough to tune and manage, and that they can scale as the business grows.

Infrastructure built for success

Modern file storage systems are giving studio administrators the freedom to run media workloads leveraging existing Ethernet networks and the cloud when needed. This means studios can take advantage of, and incorporate, valuable storage features that may not have previously been available.

Features like real-time storage analytics can give you the intelligence to build more efficient workflows. By expanding the options for the best storage for your media and entertainment organization, you can be confident your infrastructure is built for success.

With a scalable file storage system, malfunctions in an editing suite don’t have to shut down production for an entire day. An editor can easily move to another room with access to the assets he or she needs from a shared storage system. When hiccups do occur, real-time analytics can give administrators visibility into how workloads are impacting one another and insights into how to optimize workflows.

The result is a storage solution that is no longer just a cost center, but an integral part of the solution.

When evaluating your options for distributed file system, look for the following criteria:


Whether you work in 2K, 4K, 8K compressed or uncompressed, the right solution will ensure you can play back and edit your footage smoothly, even when there are multiple editors working with multiple streams of footage.


Demands for more storage are dramatically increasing. HD and 2K already require many TBs of storage and 4K requires four times the capacity. Opt for a solution that easily scales to keep pace as your company takes on more projects and more complex technical challenges.

Freedom from silos

Creating a storage silo for every new project or application adds complexity and expense. Storage silos are difficult to manage and to scale. Your file system can consolidate your storage by serving as a central storage repository, eliminating copying and simplifying your workflows.

Real-time visibility and control

Look for solutions that feature analytics tools that allow you to see how your storage is being used now and over time in order to make better-informed decisions without the worry of overprovisioning.

Data access, when and how you want it

It’s important to have the option to provision your data across on-prem and public cloud environments wherever it can most effectively power your M&E business.

Solutions offering a hybrid cloud approach let you access, manage and migrate your data seamlessly across both environments.

Editorial workloads are only going to grow more complex. And production schedules will always be subject to change. As an imaginary (or real) studio administrator, you can have peace of mind knowing your storage infrastructure can keep up.


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